Last month Crayons worked at penmanship. During October her language focus has switched to spelling. What I am using, because it's handy, is Alpha to Omega: The A-Z of Teaching Reading, Writing and Spelling, by Bevé Hornsby and Frula Shear, which came from a thrift shop a month ago. I like two things about it: the gradual building up of skills, and the wealth of dictation sentences (except for the ones about getting drunk at the pub). There are also some interesting activities. But having homeschooled for so long, you do start to have your own ways of doing things, and there are always ways to improve on "just a book." Especially if you have students who like doing almost anything better than holding a pencil.
Today's activity was called "word sums." It was a list of some compound words and words built out of common parts of words. Like putting building blocks together. I think you were supposed to have the student either read the list or spell the words. This is what I did with them: I cut a small stack of index cards in half and wrote the words across the halves: mar/ket, gar/den, part/ly, sharp/er and so on. Then, since I had so much space left, I turned each piece halfway round and wrote more half-words (and a few repeats) going in the other direction. So I had half-words going north-south and some going east-west.
I gave the stack of mini-cards to Crayons and asked her to make as many (real) words as she could from the pieces, and write them on a piece of paper. Like doing jigsaw puzzles.
That was the whole language lesson today, aside from an Alpha-Better drill. Cheap, simple, and hands-on--and it worked for us.
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